What does Tom’s, SoulCycle, Apple, and YETI Coolers have in common? They all have a powerful cult following of devoted customers ready to talk about the brands they love to anyone who will listen. Leaders in their respective markets, these companies have successfully cultivated fans who drive profit through repeat business and create new customers through word of mouth.
Brand love constantly spawns new customers at no additional expense to the company.
Here are 4 ways you can help transform customers into walking advertisements for your brand.
1. Leverage Communities, Not Influencers
Over recent years, budgets have shifted from traditional advertising to bespoke influencer marketing campaigns. While these campaigns can be effective, they can also be costly and run the risk of appearing inauthentic.
Consider going beyond finding a few influencers whom you must transform into brand ambassadors to finding satisfied customers and growing that existing relationship. Create an exclusive brand ambassador program and invite your repeat customers to partake. Ask for social media posts and mentions and in return offer them exclusive swag or discounts.
YETI effectively accomplishes this by offering customers limited gear with purchase of products. This secured them a loyal following dubbed the “YETI Nation.” Over time, you’ll create an entire community of fans supporting your brand.
2. Score with Reward Programs
Prior to their infamous E. Coli outbreak, Chipotle was very much opposed to reward programs. In 2015, Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle’s chief creative and development officer said in an interview, “We don’t believe the general supposition that loyalty will make less-frequent customers more frequent.” Fast-forward to today, Chipotle is currently rolling out its first reward program as a way to bring back once-loyal customers. Loyalty programs have become as important as having a company website.
Your program should be complimentary and easy-to-follow. When developing your program, ensure there is also a component that offers rewards for referrals. This will encourage your customer to promote your program and garner registrations.
There are various software companies that have already develop loyalty program systems. All you’ll need to to is brand what has already been created.
3. We Need to Talk
One thing I tend to do is talk directly with our guests. I’ll visit restaurants and ask them about their food but also their feelings regarding the brand.
From menu items to packaging suggestions, guests will offer their input and I take every comment into consideration. In fact, earlier this year our company underwent an entire rebrand prompted from feedback we received from guests who referred to us as “VERTS” as opposed to our original name at the time, VertsKebap. We listened and decided to shorten our name and update our logo.
If you can’t physically speak with patrons, ensure that you have feedback cards or surveys readily available. Take time to personally read online reviews and never be quick to dismiss unsatisfied clients. Communicate back to them company updates and changes so they feel involved. Your customers want to be heard and by engaging with them, you will fuel brand devotion.
4. Impress for Success
Create personal experiences your customers will remember. The treat you extend to your customer can be untraditional to your business.
We recently launched a test kitchen in one of our restaurants where we offer guests complimentary samples of off-menu items. It’s an unexpected surprise they wouldn’t typically receive at a fast casual restaurant chain.
If your customers are spread across the globe, consider sending them personalized thank you cards or small gifts found locally. The impressive gestures will create a lasting connection between your brand and customer.